The JWVH team frequently treats sick and injured Pangolins rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. © Gareth Thomas
What are some of the challenges associated with treating wildlife that your practice focuses on?
We are challenged by the never-ending pressure on wildlife by human encroachment and habitat loss. This results in wildlife being involved in snaring, hunting with dogs, electrocution on fences, impacts with cars, being sold on the roadside, etc. The injuries that come with animals being rescued or retrieved from these situations are varied.
How important is adapting rehabilitation strategies to specific animal behaviour of that species? And how does JWV’s ‘sponsor a species program’ help provide species-specific care?
Providing the correct rehabilitation for each animal is absolutely key to the success of that species. We must fully understand the behaviour of each species we are working with. Without this knowledge, one cannot provide the correct enclosure, husbandry, stimulation, and enrichment or natural food items. This is essential for the overall well-being of each animal in our care from small rodents to bats to carnivores and specialist feeders.
JWV naturally must feed all the animals being rehabilitated, how much food does the clinic go through in a week, and is it hard to source? What has the response been to your innovative #onemeal and sponsorship programs?
The #onemeal has been very successful. It is quite pricy to feed all our patients and it varies between seasons – Summer is busier. We can spend anything from R5000 to R10 000 per week on food.
What sort of information does JWV pass onto other rehabilitation practices about the various species of wildlife?
Nicci Wright has developed a series of wildlife rehabilitation courses and workshops which she teaches across the country. The JWVH also has an intern program where we facilitate vets, vet nurses, rehabilitators, and others, both students and professionals. They spend time working alongside us and there is a mutual sharing of information and knowledge. We are also constantly on call to facilities, veterinarians, and rehabilitators across Africa and happily share wherever we can.
JWV has been mentioned numerous times in the press, what are some of the most memorable stories?
Some of our world-first success with key species such as Temminck’s pangolin and the development of their treatment and rehabilitation has led to some wonderful press coverage. Good news release processes of African clawless otter, raptors including the reunion of a baby vervet with his mother and troop are all inspiring and we love sharing these.